Trump talks up bipartisanship


WASHINGTON (AP) Developments on Thursday, Sept. 7, about President Donald Trump, Congress, hurricane relief, and the nation’s debt limit (all times Eastern Daylight Time).

  • 1:25 p.m.

President Trump said Americans want more bipartisanship. He said his meeting with the two Democratic and two Republican legislative leaders was “very, very friendly.”

The president spoke to reporters before a lunch with Kuwait’s Amir al-Sabah. Trump said he expects Congress to discuss eliminating the debt ceiling, saying it “complicates things.”

Once again, President Trump was not referring to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., by name, while referencing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., several times.

Vice President Mike Pence, also in the room, said he agreed with Schumer that Trump striking a deal on the debt ceiling extension — over the objection of Republicans — was “a great moment.”

Trump said the debt deal signals more bipartisanship to come.

  • 1:05 p.m.

Top Democrats and the president were talking about scrapping the government’s debt limit.

Rep. Pelosi said Trump suggested the idea in a Wednesday meeting at the White House.

“Now that’s something we can talk about,” she told reporters.

Pelosi said she and Sen. Schumer would discuss the idea with their party colleagues.

House Speaker Ryan opposes the idea. He said it would encroach on Congress’ power of the purse and legislating authority.

  • 10:50 a.m.

A Trump administration official said the president spoke by phone to four congressional leaders, including Rep. Pelosi.

Pelosi said she is the one who asked Trump to send a reassuring tweet about the so-called “Dreamers.” Pelosi said she asked Trump to make clear that “Dreamers” wouldn’t be subjected to deportation during the six months Trump has given Congress to find a solution for them.

Presidential spokeswoman Sarah Sanders also said Trump spoke to Sen. McConnell, House Speaker Ryan, and Sen. Schumer.

Sanders said the president was “committed to working across the aisle and doing what is needed to best serve the American people.”

  • 9:25 a.m.

House Speaker Ryan said the deal the president cut with Democrats on spending, the debt, and Harvey aid made sense, with one devastating storm and another looming.

In his first remarks since Trump cut the deal, Ryan said the president didn’t want to have “some partisan fight in the middle of the response.”

He did not criticize the three-month spending and debt deal that would rush billions in disaster relief to the victims — though he said he believes a longer-term debt deal would have been better for credit markets.

The president sided with Democratic leaders over Republicans who wanted a longer extension on raising America’s borrowing authority.

Asked about Trump’s deal with the Democrats, Ryan said, “Yeah, I sort of noticed that.”

Ryan spoke in a New York Times interview at the Newseum.

  • 7:15 a.m.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said he has no problem with the president making a deal with Democratic leaders of Congress to arrange a short-term extension of the debt limit.

Cole called Trump’s move during an Oval Office meeting Wednesday “in some sense a declaration of independence by the president.”

“I was sort of thrilled,” Cole told MSNBC’s Morning Joe program. He said the arrangement Trump worked out with Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Schumer was “good for the country. — We don’t need to run out of money in a week or 10 days in the middle of a natural disaster.”

  • 5:50 a.m.

The Senate nearly doubled the initial Harvey aid package.

Majority Leader McConnell’s midnight move added $7.4 billion in community development block grant funds to a House-passed $7.9 billion measure providing an emergency replenishment for disaster aid coffers.

The additional Senate money was to jump-start rebuilding efforts. The block grant money is more flexible and can cover costs the Federal Emergency Management Agency can’t.

The House passed the Harvey aid package on Wednesday by an overwhelming vote. President Trump agreed to link it to an increase through Dec. 8 in the government’s so-called debt limit, as well as a stopgap government-wide funding bill.